3 Leadership Lessons From Andy Griffith

One of my favorite sitcoms ever is The Andy Griffith Show. Even though the show was recorded before my time, I have great memories of watching the reruns with my Dad on Saturday mornings. As I’ve gotten older and still watch the show, some of the lessons the show teaches have gotten a little deeper.

The other evening, my wife and I were watching it and this little segment came on. In case you don’t have time to watch it, basically someone who had it out for Andy was pushing to get him relieved of his Sheriff duties. In order to dig up dirt on Andy, the guy planted a young girl to pose as a student so that Barney would tell her about all of the things Andy did wrong. Barney had an ego problem and always wanted to impress, so he went off to the young lady about all of the stuff Andy did that wasn’t “sheriff like.”

They have a hearing for Andy and Barney becomes the star witness. Before Barney steps down, he begins to talk about all the things that really make Andy a great sheriff. They are some great leadership lessons for us today as well. Here are a few from Barney’s defense speech…

Great leaders serve
One of the arguments the guys make about what makes Andy a bad sheriff was that he would use the squad car for other things than “police business.” Andy would deliver groceries to elderly people that couldn’t get out and get them themselves. That’s what leaders do… they serve. Andy realized that as the Sheriff, he had a duty to lead the town and serve the town. That’s what he did and Barney recognized it.

Great leaders understand
Barney makes the comment in his defense that Mayberry was a “small town.” Great leaders understand their culture and circumstance. Andy could have never behaved like the sheriff of a large city because that wasn’t the situation he was in. He was in a small town and knew how to influence the people he had been given. Sure, he didn’t always go “by the book.” Great leaders understand the book but also know when to adjust to reach their people.

Great leaders lead great people
Even though Barney had ego issues, he was loyal to Andy. Great leaders develop great organizations, but also great people. – Barney’s loyalty is testimony to the leader that Andy was with him.

Are you an Andy Griffith Show fan? What have you learned from it?


  1. Jonathan,
    I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful explanation you give to us on the subject of leadership with this story. And I can not think of a better roll model to present your message in modern times than Andy Griffith, I to (but much older than you) grew up watching the “Mayberry Gang” with my father. Now, my son will set down with me acationally and watch the show, oh how I wish he was watching it with my father as well!
    I have truly enjoyed following your blog, and wilt examples like this one it makes me really look forward to what you will present us for enlightenment in the coming days.
    May Abba bless you and yours with His devine intervention and wisdom today and days to come.

    Adam T. Smith


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